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Death of Black Teen, Restrained By Corrections Officers In Juvenile Detention Center, Ruled A Homicide
“His bright light was extinguished by the personnel within the juvenile detention center that took his life,” lawyer Andrew Stroth said of Cedric Lofton, who had plans to pursue a career in music.
The death of a Black teen, who died after he was restrained by corrections officers inside a Kansas juvenile detention, has been ruled a homicide and his family now wants those responsible to be held accountable.
An autopsy report, obtained by Oxygen.com on Tuesday, classified the Sept. 26 death of Cedric Lofton, 17, as a "homicide." It said he died after “complications of cardiopulmonary arrest sustained after physical struggle while restrained in the prone position.” The autopsy report, which was filed on Monday in Sedgwick County District Court, states that Lofton was handcuffed and lying face-down on the floor of the Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center (JIAC) when his heart stopped beating. As many as five employees were involved in restraining the teenager.
The juvenile jail employees who restrained the teenager have not been identified. They have been placed on paid administrative leave.
“Today, the Chief Medical Examiner for Sedgwick County, Kansas, confirmed that Cedric Lofton’s death was a homicide,” Chicago-based civil rights lawyers Andrew Stroth and Steven Hart said in a joint statement on behalf of the family on Monday. “This confirms our belief that Sedgwick County personnel at the Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center (JIAC) in Wichita killed Cedric. As supported by the video evidence, these individuals unjustifiably and with excessive and unreasonable force pinned Cedric to the ground, ultimately killing the unarmed, 135-pound, 17-year-old African American teenager.”
The statement declares that the Sedgwick County District Attorney “should pursue criminal charges against the law enforcement personnel responsible for Cedric’s death.” It states that the family is "anxiously" awaiting the findings of a criminal investigation by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.
Stroth, who is co-counsel on the case with Hart, told Oxygen.com via phone on Tuesday that for months the two lawyers felt that the “narrative given by the authorities didn’t add up.”
He said that in light of the autopsy and video footage of the event that they watched with Lofton’s family, that the teen's relatives “believes the individuals who killed Cedric should be held responsible for the tragic, unjustified and untimely death of a 17-year-old African American teenager.”
“Now a family no longer has a son,” he said.
Stroth told Oxygen.com that Lofton was a high school senior who loved music and hip hop and had plans to move to California after graduating to pursue a career in it.
“His bright light was extinguished by the personnel within the juvenile detention center that took his life,” he said. “The evidence speaks for itself and it’s tragic that yet another Black teenager was killed.”
The Sedgwick County District Attorney's office has not immediately responded to Oxygen.com’s request for comment.